The World's Greatest Waterfall Hike
16 May 2012 | Daniels Bay, Nuku Hiva, The Marquesas, French Polynesia
Our cameras cannot take pictures that show this grandeur. And certainly I cannot describe it adequately. But I will tell you that this is the most amazing hike I can remember....even those in Glacier National Park aren't better.
Daniel's bay (Hakatea Bay) is about 6 miles from Nuka Hiva Village (Taiohae Bay) where we first arrived. But this anchorage is smoother and much more sheltered from the wind. We took the dinghies to the beach where there is a farm and a couple Marquesan families. There were cattle roaming on the beach...that was new to us. The trail looks like a path through a tourist garden with perfect green trees and grass on both sides. We were greeted by the families and invited to stop on our way back to get fruit. These are beautiful people. The men look like the lift weights all day in the gym and eat a perfect diet. They have lots of tatoos. Most importantly they are friendly.
The trail goes up a valley, but it is not a valley like you ever walked up before. This is more of a cleft in the earth with rock walls rising on both sides for thousands of feet. There is a river that we generally follow except from time to time we have to cross it. It's swift and has an irregular bottom but we all manage the crossings without incident. About 2 hours in to the hike we come to the first sign. It says, Don't do this if it is raining and be aware that rock falls occur often and this is hazardous. It has just started to rain when we come upon a cache of hard hats someone has left for us to wear! We'll wear them for another hour of hiking. Looking up to the sky where the rocks would come from does not give confidence in the hats but we wear them anyway. We wind up a narrow jungle trail with rock walls close on both sides of the "trail". We ford the river a couple more times and then we can hear the waterfall. It must be 900 feet tall (measured by Costeau in a Helicopter). Wow. There is a pool that we can swim across and then through a cleft in the rock into a maze of waterfall canyon. The wind is roaring down the canyon and we are swimming against it. A few brave souls actually swim behind the waterfall which is actually amazing because the wind is so strong that you can't hear one another and it is difficult to swim against. We use our waterproof cameras to take pictures. I hope they turn out.
On our trip out we are invited into the Marquesan homes and served a lemonade and fried bananas. We buy some fruit and bananas. This fruit is perfect but the banana stalks are really heavy. Then we spend about an hour opening coconuts at all stages and drinking/eating/huskiing them. How can we be so lucky? Ruby (an 6 year old on SV Convivia, Vistoria and Tucker ) found a "sensitive plant" that folds up its leaves when you touch it (like a Venus fly trap). Miles (their 4 year old) found some ants and they bit him on the legs. That was quite the scene for just a little while!
We returned to Panta Rhei and grilled some steaks, boiled some potatoes and prepared a salad. Now we are coasting. We're tired but it has been a GREAT day.